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OCP-Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline, Ecuador

In spite of the locals' strong opposition and a global campaigning, the OCP is operating since 2003, causing numerous oil spills along its way


A project for the construction of the OCP (Oleoducto de crudos pesados or heavy crude oil pipeline) was submitted in 2000 to the Ministry of Energy and Mining, and envisaged a pipeline that cut across Ecuador lengthwise for 503 km (312 miles), crossing the Amazon jungle, the Andes, numerous natural reserves and ending on the Pacific coast. An alternative trail of the pipeline, parallel to the already existing SOTE pipeline was proposed but denied by the OCP Ldt. Consortium. Since the pipeline's capacities are underused for Ecuatorian crude oil, Colombia started to use it in 2013 for the exportation of its own crude oil from the port Esmeraldas. In order to make this possible it was necessary to connect Lago Agrio station (connected to the Colombian grid) and the OCP station Amazonas [1]. Such infrastructure costed more than US$8 million.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:OCP-Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline, Ecuador
State or province:Pichincha, Sucumbios, Napo, Esmeraldas Regions
Location of conflict:Lago Agrio, Esmeraldas and Calderon (Quito)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The project cut through Ecuador from an altitude of 300 meters in the Amazon to over 4,000 meters through the Andean ridge and down to sea level. The pipeline traverses seven national parks and protected areas [1] and is 506 km long.

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Project area:50300
Level of Investment for the conflictive project1,400,000,000.00
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:10/2010
Company names or state enterprises:Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (Eni) from Italy
OCP Ecuador Ldt. from Ecuador -
Alberta Energy from Canada
Techint - Saneamiento y Urbanización S.A. (SYUSA) from Italy -
Agip Group from Italy
Perez Companc from Argentina
William Corporation - the company dropped its bid for an alternate pipeline in 2000
Occidental Petroleum (OXY) from United States of America -
Kerr-McGee Corp. from United States of America
FLOPEC from Ecuador
Repsol YPF from Spain
Pecom Energia from Argentina
EnCana Corp from Canada
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, Ministry of the Environment, Secretaría Nacional de Hidrocarburos del Ecuador
International and Finance InstitutionsWestdeutsche Landesbank (WestLB) from Germany
Chase Manhattan Bank from United States of America
BNL from Italy
Italian Banca Nazionale del Lavoro from Italy
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Accion Ecolgica - Ecuador, CONAIE - Ecuador, Greenpeace, Accion por la Vida - Ecuador, Sindicato Petroecuador de Ingenieros y Profesionales - Ecuador, Community of Lago Agrio - Ecuador, Community of Esmeraldas - Ecuador, Communities of Guarumos, Puerto Quito, San Miguel de Los Bancos, Nono, Gonzal Pizarro - Ecuador, The Least Impact Route Committee - Ecuador, National Network of those Affected by the OCP Construction - Ecuador, Farmers Association of the Communities of Pichincha, Napo ed Esmeraldas - Ecuador, A Sud - Italy, Friends of Earth - USA, Amazon Watch - USA, Rete Lilliput, Ya Basta - Italy, Terra Nuova - Italy, Il Manifesto - Italy, Carta - Italy, Green Party - Italy, Oilwatch - Nigeria
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Industrial workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Soil contamination, Oil spills, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:To stop the operations of the pipeline considering the harm caused to the society and the environment.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:In spite of all the national and international movement made against this installation, this one still went on and is actually operating damaging the evironment and causing social and environmental injustice.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Ecuadorian Constitution

World Bank regulations

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Las verdades de AGIP-ENI OIL en la Amazonia ecuatoriana. Accion Ecologica. 2005
[click to view]

Informe especial: La ARCO en el Ecuador. Los pueblos Shuar y Achuar una nueva batalla por la soberania. Accion Ecologica. 1999
[click to view]

Petroleo y sociedad. Historia de una riqueza. Comite de empresa de los trabajadores de petroecuador. 1998
[click to view]

Il sangue della terra. Atlante geografico del petrolio. A Sud. Derive-Approdi. 2006
[click to view]

Atlas amazonico de Ecuador, resistencia y agresiones. Accion Ecologica-CONAIE. 2006
[click to view]

Mushuk Allpa - La experiencia de los indigenas de Pastaza en la conservacion de la Selva Amazonica. Charvet, Erika Silva. Fundacion Instituo Amazanga. 2003
[click to view]

Marea Negra en la Amazonia. Autori Vari. Abya-yala. 1995

Cancer en la Amazonia del Ecuador. Hurting, Anna-Karin; San Sebastian, Miguel. Abya-yala. 2002

El nuevo oleoducto de crudos pesados en Ecuador, Amazon Watch, June 2001
[click to view]

OCP: Independent Compliance Assessment of OCP with the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Policies, Robert Goodman, 2002
[click to view]

Pastaza Runakuna Tantanakuy. Organizacion de los pueblos indigenas de Pastaza. 2001
[click to view]

Conflictos socio-ambientales en el Ecuador. Granda, Alicia. Accion Ecologica. 2001
[click to view]

Los encadenados del oleoducto. Narvez Quinez, Ivn; Galarza Bastidas, Ramiro; Villavicencio Valencia, Fernando; Ortiz Cevallos, Miguel. Federacion de trabajadores petroleros. 1996
[click to view]

[1] OCP Pipeline to transport crude oil from Colombia
[click to view]

[2] La Tierra sangra desde hace cuatro décadas en el Ecuador, Una cronología de los derrames de petróleo en el país de 1972 a 2014, V. Aumala, 29/09/2014
[click to view]

Colombia transportará crudo por oleoducto ecuatoriano, 11/08/2011
[click to view]

OCP Ecuador Official website
[click to view]

Controlada la rotura en el oleoducto de crudos pesados, 5.500 barriles se derramaron, 08/04/2013
[click to view]

Ecologists protest against OCP
[click to view]

Crudo colombiano del Putumayo se transportará por un oleoducto del Ecuador, 23/08/2013
[click to view]

¿Por qué hay un derrame petrolero por semana en Ecuador?, I. Gil, BBC Mundo, 13/06/2013
[click to view]

Oleoducto de crudos pesados.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Oleoducto, contaminación y pobreza, 2002. Full Movie : Amazon Oil Pipeline-Pollution, Corruption and Poverty
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Lucie Greyl
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:503
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